Nadia Sawalha's low-sugar hot cross buns

Dish type: Baking

Although easy to make, you’ll need to allow plenty of time to prove these spicy buns – they’re made using a rich, fruity bread dough which takes longer to rise than a plainer dough. Once made, you can freeze any buns you won’t be eating, warming them through in a moderate oven once thawed.

Serves 10
Prep time: 30 minutes
Prove time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Nutritional information: 227kcals per serving


375g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
100g mixed dried fruit
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
6 tablespoons Splenda granulated sweetener
1 egg, beaten
50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
200ml warm milk
Oil, for greasing

For the crosses

25g plain flour
2–3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten


1. Put the bread flour, dried fruit, lemon zest, spices, yeast and 4 tablespoons of the sweetener in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the egg, melted butter and milk and mix with a round-bladed knife to make a soft dough.

2. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.

3. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Push the air out of the dough and tip onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into ten even-sized pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on the baking sheet, about 3cm apart, and flatten them slightly. Cover with greased clingfilm and leave to rise again for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

5. To make the crosses, mix the plain flour with the milk to make a soft paste. Spoon into a small polythene bag and squeeze the mixture into a corner. Brush the dough with beaten egg. Snip off the corner of the bag and pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes until risen and golden.

6. Dissolve the remaining sweetener in 2 teaspoons hot water. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and brush with the glaze. Leave to cool.
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